A Fayetteville woman was arrested early Saturday after attempting to drop contraband near the Pine Bluff Unit of the Department of Correction.
Ashley Nelson, 26, told Arkansas State Police Special Agent Oscar Bullard that she was making the drop for her husband, Jacob Nelson, who is incarcerated at the Pine Bluff Unit.
Bullard said in a probable cause affidavit presented in district court Monday that corrections officials had set up a night surveillance team near the horse barn, which is directly behind the unit and at about 1:05 a.m., they reported seeing a small black passenger car traveling down a dirt road leading to the horse barn and stop with the lights off. Corrections officials approached the vehicle and took Nelson into custody.
The officers located a package that contained nine cell phones, nine cell phone chargers, 5 pounds, 2 ounces of loose tobacco, 14.8 ounces of smokeless tobacco, five cigarette lighters, five packages of rolling papers, two rolls of duct tape, two rolls of plastic wrap and two hand-rolled cigarettes containing suspected marijuana.
When Nelson was questioned, she said she had been contacted by a female who called herself Elizabeth Saucillo on Facebook Messenger and received all the items correction officials found from her. Nelson also said that Elizabeth allegedly had a brother who was also incarcerated at the Pine Bluff Unit and was also expecting a drop.
Nelson said she was expecting a phone call to tell her exactly where to drop the items but the call never came.
On Monday, Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $20,000 bond for Nelson after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge her with introducing prohibited articles and with possession of a controlled substance.
The Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Nelson, who had no prior convictions or pending charges.
The Arkansas Department of Correction website shows that Jacob Nelson was sentenced to 48 months in prison in 2018 on charges of fleeing and possession of a schedule I/II controlled substance not methamphetamine or cocaine.